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STORY   OF   THE   SINO-JAFANESE   WAR        363
Then in 1936 came a series of rebellions which steadily pressed the issue of immediate war with Japan and stopping the war on the Communists which Chiang was still bent on continuing. The chief of these rebellions were that of Kwangsi in August and the Sian Revolt in December. However com-pleated the motives underlying the revolts, they nevertheless expressed the will of the people. One must have been living in China to feel their full portent. The sincerity of the Communists and even of Chang Hsuehliang, Chiang's captor at Sian, in acting out of patriotic, non-personal motives, was long proved and had convinced Chiang himself at the spot when they saved his life and championed his release. Those who doubted the sincerity of the Kwangsi generals, Li and Pai, in their demand for immediate war with Japan at the time of their rebellion, have been forced to change their ininds since the outbreak of the war, when Li and Pai both promised and carried out a policy of united, wholehearted support of Chiang in resistance against the invader. Whether the rebelling generals acted from personal or public motives or a mixture of both, and whether immediate war was advisable, is irrelevant; the fact remains that the whole nation had come to realize the danger of further compromise. They saw that there was no end to Japan's ambitions, no swerving of her will to conquer, and that to yield another inch of Chinese territory could not be tolerated by a self-respecting nation. The nation had reached the point of determining to resist Japan at the risk of a major war. War was in the air, and Chiang felt it, knew it.
These rebellions were therefore inevitable and moreover useful in helping to clarify the issue, the issue helplessly presented by the student demonstrators all over the country, but now vigorously presented by the militarists. It was a remarkable testimony to the Chinese Government's popular strength that although it was taking a more moderate and less anti-Japanese position, it came out of every rebellion stronger than before. Chiang Kaishek settled the rebellions with firmness and considerable sagacity. Some of his immature rawness had worn off, and he showed more temperance. In his dealing with the Kwangsi Rebellion, he rose to the full stature of a